Educational authorities of some provinces in Vietnam's Central Highlands are having second thoughts about offline learning following school closures upon spotting locally-transmitted COVID-19 infections over the weekend.
Pham Dang Khoa, director of the Department of Education and Training in Dak Lak Province, said on Sunday some areas had switched from face-to-face to online learning due to the detection of more COVID-19 cases among students.
In Ea Kar District, Nguyen Viet Xuan Elementary School recorded a total of six positive samples via real-time RT-PCR tests on the weekend, prompting authorities to close the venue and transform it into a quarantine center for 106 direct contacts.
Ea Kar officials confirmed another six community cases at three other schools and isolated over 100 people having been exposed to COVID-19 patients.
A rapid test found three students and a teacher positive for the coronavirus in another district of Dak Lak.
Local health workers are conducting contact tracing and designating quarantine for close contacts.
Dak Lak recorded 112 new cases on Sunday, raising the caseload to 4,005 patients, according to the Ministry of Health’s data.
Meanwhile, the neighboring province of Dak Nong just shut down a school in Gia Nghia City due to the presence of local infections.
Amidst the increasing number of patients in the community, the provincial education authorities will delay offline schooling in the epidemic-hit city until further notice, while resuming face-to-face learning in safer locales.
Dak Nong announced eight new cases on Monday morning, including a patient who had previously visited the country’s largest epicenter, Ho Chi Minh City.
In response to the situation, the central government has issued Directive 18 and assigned local authorities to draft guidelines on 'adaptive and flexible' teaching and learning strategies, soliciting comment from relevant agencies.
According to an unofficial scheme, students in 'green zones' would attend schools in person while 'orange zones' allow offline schooling for only first and 12th graders.
'Red zones' stick to the online mode.
Vietnam has found 921,122 infections in 62 out of its 63 provinces and cities since the fourth virus wave erupted in April, with 820,344 recoveries and 22,083 fatalities, leading to school closures nationwide.
The national government has relaxed pandemic control curbs over the past few weeks as transmissions have slowed down, due in part to larger vaccine coverage.